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Too Much of a Good Thing

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Too Much of a Good Thing

Americans and most humans in general eat too much sugar and sodium in their daily diets. Most people know that fresh, whole foods will supply more nutrients, yet time, money and the memory of how much we like our junk food, lead many people to choose fast food or processed foods with empty calories and an abundance of high fructose corn syrup. So why do we eat like we do? Dr. David Kessler believes highly palatable foods hijack our brains. (WSJ) What does he mean by this statement? Foods high in fat, sugars and salt taste good! They also create a reaction similar to Pavlov's dogs at just the mention of a food product. Packaging, jingles and advertising all help to bring about the automatic overeating response. Dr. Kessler states that foods are created to stimulate the rewards circuitry in the brain. (WSJ)

What is the answer to the cycle of eating leading us to obesity, diabetes and heart disease? Holly McCord, RD states in "Win the Sugar War" that we may not be eating often enough. If we go a few hours without food, we're ready to devour something sugary. Eating mini-meals can keep blood sugar levels stable and cravings at bay. (p.3) In the Super Antioxidant Diet and Nutrition Guide, Robin Jeep, founder of Vibrant Cuisine, points out that salt causes our taste buds to become desensitized to natural taste and flavors. (p.57) Jeeps also points out that eating sugar interferes with the body's ability to cleanse itself of toxins. (p.40) Joy Bauer, MS, RD thinks going cold turkey is the best way to retrain our eating habits. A seven day strict cleanse focusing on nutrient dense, unprocessed, regular meal time patterns with no added sugars or salt is what she recommends. This week is followed by a second week of planned eating to fortify the behaviors planted with the strict week of cleansing. (JB website) It seems that the best way for us to combat the hijacking occurring in our brains with Hostess, Entenmann's and Little Debby is to do what any addict must - abstain and retrain, one day at a time until we break free of the chokehold these harmful foods have on our systems.

Taking on the challenge personally, I decided to attempt the 7 day cleanse followed by a relearning week to retrain eating habits. All unnatural sugar sources, including alcohol, were eliminated. No additional salt was permitted for seasoning. Meals were eaten on a strict schedule with pre-determined amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and nutrients in order to not slow the metabolism. The results I encountered supported the above mentioned theories and studies. The initial days were difficult with my brain screaming for the sweets and treats I was accustomed. Headache, fatigue and irritability were also present. But by day 7 a definite positive shift of energy was evident. Foods without seasoning were more flavorful and clean tasting.



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